Since the first day on LHS campus, Head football Caoch Craig Slaughter and his staff have set the bar high. It took only minutes until the Yellow Jacket football team bought into a new scheme, new attitude, and a new beginning. But for all of this effort, tons of energy was spent. According to a few sources, the “Yellow Jackets had never worked this hard”. And the reward came early in the transition.
The Yellow Jackets played their hearts out out against 3A State Champion Wimberley, only to fall 27-26 in week 0. Traveling to Bangs and their Homecoming game, the Jackets could have taken a breather. But they had none of that. A 50 to 23 romp against a very strong Dragon team could have set up the perfect storm for the Bandera game. Llano now was just a little cocky, a tab bit in believing their own press. And how could that be? Here is a team that has now won just one game in their last 11… and they’re over confident? It went to attitude, never too far away from the heart. Slaughter’s staff found it, and brought it back to life. The new coaches inspired this group of young men to simply go back…go back into believing in themselves again. The seniors had not forgotten. They just had to been reminded. Hard work, repetition, and more hard work would get results. And the first two weeks of play only reinforced that.
Llano did not play up to the effort of the first two games. But I knew they could not sustain that effort without, at least, getting a little stutter in their step before they went forward. Bandera was the stutter step needed. Llano needed this awaking game to remind them that every game was not going to be Bangs. Gang tackling was not going to happen unless everyone was in on the gang. Just that tiniest of let-up allowed Bandera to stay close. Just that slightest of not going 100% every single play, actually put Llano at risk. The Jackets needed this scare. The 39-26 final score could have been 39-0, but the Jackets eased up on the peddle for a moment. They picked the right time to do that.
I had told myself that Llano could be 0-3 at this point in the season. And next Llano plays a Boerne team that made the play-offs in 2011, with 8 returning starters back, and a team that averaged over 31 points a game in 2011. Llano could have faced a bleak prospect in game four. Boerne is a team the Jackets have not played in decades. Little is known about the Greyhounds, other than they would be a hard test for Llano. In mid- summer I had deep worries.
Now, with a 2-1 record, Llano knows it can beat a good Boerne team. It also knows… no letting up. The game is too fragile. An injury here, and mistake there, and the game that looks easy becomes the killer. Llano is not so good, that any team can be over- looked. The Greyhounds will be a very tough test for Llano. Oh yes, again, Llano travels to Boerne, and yes, I’ve been told, it is Homecoming.
Who played very good against Bandera? I think Taylor Stewart, Cooper Hill, and Jacob Beasley blocked pretty good. Jake Rodriguez takes his play on special teams very serious. He and Kralen Dickerson are becoming special on special teams. Wil Siegenthaler, Mason Ladd (Interception), and Carter Tatsch get better each week. Kassidy Pitcox had good plays, as did Eli Tiffin. Eli went out with an unknown injury. Hope he his back ASAP. Pedro Perez hustled on special teams. And Caleb Penny had his best game.
The best play of the night was easy for me. Layton Rabb, starting his 8th varsity game, is completing about 70% of his passes in three games. More amazing, he has 6 TD passes, and no interceptions. But he made a play Friday night that was the best play he has ever had. In the second quarter, with the score at 14-12, Llano was on the 10 yardline of the Bulldogs. It was third down. As Layton dropped back, there was a good rush, and a very strong rush from the left side as Layton rolled that direction. It looked like a sure sack from where I sat. But Layton slid back toward the center, and hit a waving Devin Mayne as he was streaking from right to left in the back of the end zone, where Layton hit him in stride for the TD. Layton kept his eyes looking downfield, when he could have been watching for someone to take his head off. Very heads-up play! And Mayne is becoming a very valuable target for Layton as the Jackets head into the meat of the schedule. Layton has been spreading the football. Besides Rhett Brooks, Matt Center and Storey Tatsch,…. Sawyer Stiles, Carter, Pitcox, Wil, Allen Lucas, along with leading receiver Issac Huto gives Layton confidence with several sure handed receivers.
The Jackets are giving up about 300 yards per game on defense. Improving that number closer to 200 yards allowed per game will make the defense harder to handle for any team. The Jackets are averaging 38 points per game scoring. They will need every single one of the 38 points against the Greyhounds. Llano by 12.